TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma filed first-degree manslaughter charges Thursday against the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on a city street.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charges against officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Dashcam and aerial footage of the shooting and its aftermath showed Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his arms in the air.

The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Her attorney has said Crutcher was not following police commands and that Shelby opened fire when the man began to reach into his SUV window.

But Crutcher’s family immediately discounted that claim, saying the father of four posed no threat to the officers, and police said Crutcher did not have gun on him or in his vehicle.

Shelby, who joined the Tulsa Police Department in December 2011, was en route to a domestic violence call when she encountered Crutcher’s vehicle abandoned on a city street, straddling the center line. Shelby did not activate her patrol car’s dashboard camera, so no footage exists of what first happened between the two before other officers arrived.

The police footage shows Crutcher approaching the driver’s side of the SUV, then more officers walk up and Crutcher appears to lower his hands and place them on the vehicle. A man inside a police helicopter overhead says: “That looks like a bad dude, too. Probably on something.”

The officers surround Crutcher and he suddenly drops to the ground. A voice heard on police radio says: “Shots fired!” The officers back away and Crutcher is left unattended on the street for about two minutes before an officer puts on medical gloves and begins to attend to him.

Earlier this year, a former volunteer deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office was sentenced to four years in prison after he was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris.

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86 thoughts on “Tulsa Police Officer Charged In Terence Crutcher’s Death

  1. As a black woman, I am fearful every time I drive and see a police car. I’m fearful for the black males in my life because you just never know what’s going to happen if pulled over. Are we going to come up against a racist, trigger happy, and/or scared cop who is going to shoot even if our hands are up and then say I’m sorry or I don’t’ know why I did it. It’s heartbreaking to see our black people lying dead in the street whether it’s by police or folk that look like us. What concerns me about our community is that the media is leading us to believe that this is only happening to us and the truth of the matter is it’s not. A few weeks ago one media outlet stated that there were 500+ killings by police for 2015 and that most of them were white. I googled it and found that the numbers were different for different news outlets and were in fact pretty even for both races. One source, killedbypolice.net, came up and I looked at it and was appalled by what I read. As of today there are over 840+ people who were killed by police for 2016 and the majority aren’t black people; those are just the names/picture/ages/gender/race of those reported to that website. The media is not telling the public, the black community that on 9/20/16 when Mr. Scott was killed, there were 6 people that we know of, who were killed by police and half were white. They don’t want us to know that this is happening to white people Asians, Latinos and Native Americans as well. What’s happening to black men/women is a hot topic and they know it’s going to create viewers, which creates sponsorship, which generates a ton of money for the networks. They know if they show us images of our black men/women lying in the street dead at the hands of a police and then terrorist and/or white criminals being led away quietly that it’s going to spark talk and create more news. They know showing black men/women being led away quietly is not going to benefit them. Truth of the matter is, not all stops by police result in black people being killed and not all terrorist/white criminals are taken w/o being killed. Why am I sharing this? Because I’m tired of the mind game the media is playing w/our community that leads us to believe this is only happening to us which results in black communities being torn up. Some businesses will never be able to rebuild and yes though those owners, community people are alive their lives will never be the same. We have to wake up and take care in what we allow ourselves to believe and be smart about how OUR community is going to handle the injustices! Yes protest but protest without destroying our communities. Protest but know the facts. Protest and have a plan that is going to be carried out. Get invited to the table w/the powers that be and then tell them what we as a community want: racial profiling to stop, harsher treatment of black people to stop, the assumption that black men are a threat and that black women are going to back talk to stop. That cops that are not going to uphold the law with dignity, integrity and honor are going to be removed from the force. We ought to demand, fight for justice so that this stops for all. There have been many innocent lives that were needlessly taken at the hands of a police. AND good people, if pulled over, please don’t challenge the officer. Your job it to go home alive and safe to your family. If you feel like you were unfairly treated file a complaint with the proper people (please forgive typos or missed words).

    • mrknowitall on said:

      Your selective fear is fake fear. Your chances of being raped, robbed, burglarized, car jacked & murdered by a black boy is the real fear facing black folks. Everyone knows blacks use fear as a buzz word for “we hate European Americans”.

    • Really, Larry? Is that your solution to noncompliance? Have several seats, sir. To kill someone who’s not posing a direct threat to the public or the officers simply because they aren’t complying to the officer’s directive is in no way short of murder. Our tax dollars pay policemen’s salary and it affords all that equipment designated to gain control of situation without resorting to lethal messures. We’ve far too many examples of police exercising these nonlethal methods with non-blacks but killing seems to be the first method used to gain control situations involving people of color. You ok with that?

  2. ResponsibilityInControl on said:

    Is this the answer? No Is it a step in the right direction? Yes
    We all should be held accountable for our actions.
    We have to get rid of the mentality that we do not have to obey police orders in any situation!
    We as a people if we feel as though we are a target in these situations change how we find ourselves in bad situations.
    We as a people want change, be a part of the change run for office, be a police officer, vote, start community awareness groups.
    Why is it that we have essentially ended community watch in our neighborhoods?
    Cause our community thinks its best not to snitch? WTF!

    Remember when the thug down the street breaks into your house or causes you harm or fear who do you call? THE POLICE!!!!!!!!!

  3. americanize on said:

    O well hears the scenario,the she devil will be aquitted the crutcher family will received a check the she devil will resign with retirement an get hire by another city.If that doesn,t work the devils will organize a gofundme page for the she devil.

  4. Kill a dog, go to jail or get shot and die at the hands of the police. Kill a black human being and get paid, keep your job and get promoted. Watch the dosg memorial on tv for months. God is watching and he is the ultimate judge. God bless the Crutcher family

  5. Here it is.

    Can’t lean up against the car, can’t sit in the car, can’t lay on the ground, can’t reach for license, can’t wear a hoodie, can’t put hands in pockets, can’t put hands in the air!! How can we win against this?? Someone please help me with this, please!!!!!! #itmatterstome

    • Uuuuhhh did you see the actual video? Especially the one from the helicopter that said ‘he is doing everything they tell him to’so what the hell you talking about? GTFOHWTBS!!

    • LaTonya Andrews on said:

      That was a very ignorant statement. Regardless of the demeanor black women and men r being killed. Obviously, u kno nothing. U should go to school. 🙄🙄

      • This person needs to go back to school and learn how to not murder American citizens especially innocent American citizens what in the hell do you mean American citizens need to go to school to learn how to cooperate with officers what kind of statement is that / A very ignorant statement to be said obvious this person has not been affected in a Human mankind Way!!!

  6. Nan Gulley on said:

    She should have been charged (and should be convicted) of 2nd Degree Murder. If a citizen murders someone, they are charged with murder – not manslaughter.

  7. lkgfu1914 on said:

    I do not understand why y’all continue to say y’all can not determine when the officer fired the shot that killed Mr. Crutcher because if you carefully watch the dash cam video from the patrol car, you can clearly hear a single shot at time stamped 19:44:01 of the dash cam video. Additionally, you can see the smoke rise from the Officer Shelby’s weapon and Mr. Crutcher right arm drop to his side as he fall against his vehicle before falling to the ground. At the same time, Officer Shelby step to her right as though her is attempting to duck behind Mr. Crutcher’s SUV.

    I also think at least two of the other three officers should be charged with accessory to murder because you can clearly see that they had a unobstructed view of Officer Shelby actions as she fired the shot and helped in an attempt to cover it up.

  8. William Henry Adams, III on said:

    Why Manslaughter when it is clear that she MURDERED this brother? It’s very clear to US that this is a way out for another Racist individual with a gun.

  9. ButterPecan on said:

    Filing charges is just that. She will walk just like the others. They will pay the family a couple million of your tax dollars and she will disappear. On to a new city to keep earning her pension because that’s how it goes in the land of the free and home of the brave!

  10. Please tell me why according to her versions of events before the recording she walked to the passenger side door to check to see if there was anyone else in the car or on the floor before he started to walk up. So if that is the case then why did she feel threatened if he was supposedly reaching into his car when she had already checked it! She needs to rot in jail!

  11. The police make it a point to always tell us that until they have concluded their investigation, they will not do this or that. They are only filing charges because this police officer was wrong to shoot him- no matter how erratic his behavior, he had no gun. She “jumped the gun” in firing her weapon. RIP Mr. Crutcher, I hope your family gets justice for you.

  12. This is good news…now she needs to be convicted. Four police officers, and only one was in fear of their life. It should be a required procedure to start the dashcam whenever you approach someone or respond to a call.

  13. She was charged. So were the officers involved in Freddy Gray’s death. So was Travon Martin’s killer. Where are they now? Living free with their NOT GUILTY verdicts. Living the lives that their victims were denied. Living, while their victims are dead.

    • Wilma Sykes-Brown on said:

      Charged is one thing but conviction is another. Based on recent legal outcomes,her charge will most likely be downgraded and she will hardly get any jail time.

  14. Caren Clay on said:

    It seems that as soon as the officer takes the call, the camera should be turned on. It’s just a sad situation, Prayers to the Mr. Crutcher’s family. RIP!!

  15. mrknowitall on said:

    I am a European American Man, and earlier today I also called for her arrest and hears why: she like all female police officers are nothing more than Affirmative Action hires. Female cops can’t do the job as physically as a man can “and she knew it”. When I watch police takedowns on tv, I see the women stand by, but never slugging it out in the trenches. She possibly did fear for her life, because she is weak and unqualified.
    Affirmative Action policies killed that man. This is another reason to end Affirmative Action, along with it being Jim Crow, Apartheid, sexist & racist.

    • Really that’s what you got from that? Your comments are just code for bigotry!! Praying for you ‘European American’ (more code)!!

      • mrknowitall on said:

        Dear black people, I don’t speak in code. If blacks are African American, then whites are European American. Everyone knows blacks speak, dress & style their hair in a race code.
        If the institutionally racist policy of affirmative action was outlawed, that man would be alive. So YOU racist blacks that wanted affirmative action are also responsible for that man’s death.

    • This is absolutely the most idiotic conclusion anyone can come to. Wow! Affirmative action is the cause? Please go play in traffic. It is the action of a human who decided to kill an innocent black man.

    • Patricia Brim-Wright on said:

      That is a lie. I am a Police Officer and has been for almost 30 years. There are some of the men officers that would rather have me at their back than some of the other men officers. There are some of us who can actually hold our own with the best of them. Speak what you know sir.

      • mrknowitall on said:

        Dear black people, check the spelling on the colored people’s post then get back to me. Also consider my improper spelling to be Ebonics, then kiss my Lilly white ass.

    • lil ol' me on said:

      mrknowitall, I’m sorry I meant “European American”, I sincerely hope that someone is able to educate you about women. I do not have the time it would take, especially since lil ol’ me can only get a job due to “affirmative action”, I better spend a little more time being thankful that I was selected. In fact, I should get in the kitchen and wash the dishes and after I’ve cleaned the rest of the house, would you like a foot massage? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? What rock have you been living under? I seriously hope that you are not married and that you do not have a daughter. If you do, I imagine they are so beaten down emotionally, they’re probably hiding in the basement. Women are just as capable as men are! It does not matter the race, creed, or religion, we are equally as able to do a job, as our male counterparts. If I might add, we can sometimes do it better. You see, having a masculine job is not about being strong or masculine. You can get the job done with a little compassion, empathy, sincerity, and by listening. I have been a soldier, a probation and parole agent, and worked in prisons. I have always been excellent at my job and it’s not because someone felt bad for me or hired me to fill a quota. I am a white, female, American and you should stop boasting that ego because I am just as capable as you!

  16. The system will always be like this if we don’t exercise our right to vote in state wide election. We need to vote in federal election but the decision of who is charged or not is done at the local and state level. We need to put the right people in office and have some law that work for us. I am challenging you to encourage at least 20-25 people to go out and vote. Are you up for the challenge!!!

  17. BNARD JORDAN on said:


  18. I’m glad she’s being charged. She took a man’s life for no apparent reason. How scared he must have been. How in the hell do you go from having car problems to being dead. It’s mind blowing and it hurts!

  19. If there were more consequences like this for police “abuse of power” perhaps they would think before they decided to be judge, jury, and executioner….no matter what she gets it won’t bring back a loved one.

  20. Manslaughter is legally defined as “the unjustifiable, inexcusable, and intentional killing of a human being without deliberation, premeditation, and malice. The unlawful killing of a human being without any deliberation, which may be involuntary, in the commission of a lawful act without due caution and circumspection.” we should not settle for this.
    How is it determined Betty KKklan had no premeditation motives or malice in her mind. I beg to differ, I believe she did have her mind set on killing this man, she already determined he was a threat, according to her. Why is it that the 3 other officers on the scene didn’t see that same death warranted threat?
    This baby klan member deserves to be charged with first degree murder with a death sentence attached. Don’t fall for this stunt family, it’s all to buy time and make the public forget about the case, it’s not going to happen. The same way with the murdering lying ass cop in South Carolina who shot Walter Scott in cold blood, thank God for videos but that beast has found his way home awaiting trial, what a damn travesty.

    • specialt757 first degree murder would be too hard to prove. The prosecution would have to prove that she planned on killing this particular man. She would not get convicted. However, I am wondering why they didn’t charge her with 2nd degree murder instead of manslaughter. If I’m not mistaken, 2nd degree murder would carry a heftier jail sentence.

  21. I’m so sorry for the family and I’ll keep his family in all my prayers and may god bless them that’s is so sad and fucked up what that cop did to him somebody needs to kill his or her ass

    • dorthey2750 on said:

      She deserves the death penalty just as some others who have shot innocent Black men or hung (Sandra Bland) innocent people without provocation. What gets to me is the innocent officers are killed in retaliation but the ones who committed the murders are still walking around.They’re the ones who should be retaliated against if that’s what you choose to do. I’m not saying it’s right but if it were my Dad or Brother, Cousin, Uncle, or whomever ( loved one),she wouldn’t even have to go through a trial. She wouldn’t make it to the court room.

    • When is enough enough. Are we tired of being sick and tired. Vote people. But, even with an African American President, we are still being shot and kill like animals. We will never be equal. Don’t fool yourself. Wake up!
      I will not stop on a dark road for any police.
      I keep riding not speeding, until I feel safe. Just got profiled 2 months ago. Because I have a short Afro, they thought I was a black male.
      Going 57 so he said in a 45mph small hick town.
      Pearson, Ga. Even the black clerk of court thought the Judge was to high for me to speak with or leave a message for.

  22. Antonio Brown on said:

    Sad ‘BUT to just take a life any human life for no good reason at all is a call for jail time hard labor even the death penalty

  23. First degree manslaughter huh? They just don’t get it. Kill a Black man and get 5 years but if u kill or even shoot a cop most likely u will never see the streets again, even if the cop is full out wrong. Don’t get it twisted Black America, u see what they doing. Even if she do get convicted she’s going to get less than 5 years for sure and get promoted to another position within that department or in another county within our country.

  24. About time. These officers need to be held accountable for their actions. They are trained to defuse altercations not create them. She should be charged without a bias group of peers no pleas.

  25. Why manslaughter charges? That was clearly murder by a person that has had years of training and experience to diffuse situations like this. If this was two civilians, that person would not be charged with manslaughter.

      • First degree murder is one of the hardest charges to prove because you have to prove premeditation. That’s the ready the girl in Florida was not convicted of killing her daughter. They could not prove premeditation. Normally premeditation means the person orchestrated the murder in advance.

      • Or you have to prove extenuating circumstances, like committing a murder while in the process of committing another crime or the killing of a child. If you see a cop or the president and run up and shoot him/her, you will be charged with capital murder because of who you killed. I think that by the same token a police officer that kills someone just because they lost control of their bowels, (got the s**t scared out of them) they should face capital murder charges because of who THEY are.

  26. Jamie J J on said:

    Amazingly, now that some sports figures have stood up and said enough is enough, timely justice has taken place. And who argues that sports does not have a dominant impact in this society!!! Let athletes stand up for change, see what happens … it seems to have more impact than anything else in this country. Just my opinion…

  27. whew!!!!!!!! now lets see how this really plays out, idk really to quick for me, for prosecutors to file a charge that’s unheard of…….. baby steps i guess? doesn’t matter that she was charged what matters is the consequence now that’s what I’m interested in. My heart goes out to Mr Crutcher’s
    family. and the city of Tulsa as well, who has never gotten its just due!

  28. I’ll take it, although, because of enhanced circumstances, (her being a police officer) I think the charge should have capital murder. This smiley faced lunatic shot Mr. Crutcher because she wanted to. She needs to be in prison.

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